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2011 Employee Benefits Consultant Finalists
This article accompanies Facing the Future: Announcing The 2011 Top Employee Benefits Consultant winners.
J.R. Shamley

Senior Vice President, National Life and Disability Practice Leader
Aon Hewitt, Tampa, Fla.

A Technical Bulwark

And then there's the numbers guy.
Layoffs Target Disabled Workers?
In a budget-cutting move, the City of New York eliminated a job position that was filled by disabled workers, saying technology made it obsolete. The workers, charging discrimination, say the city is violating its own Human Rights Law.
Final ADA Regulations Spell out Disabilities
The regulations, like the new law, reflect a dramatic shift in the management of the disabled in the workplace. With the definition of a disability now significantly broadened, here's what HR leaders need to know about the changes.
Reducing the Burdens of Mental Disabilities
Individuals with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities face discrimination when seeking to find -- and keep -- jobs. Employers, who are required to offer accommodations for disabled employees, often find that it is easier than they thought.
Marijuana Use at Work Requires Strict Rules
I read your article ("Weed at Work," August 2010) with great interest, knowing that the medical-marijuana issue is seeping into the workplace, as reflected in different venues of the media and discussions continue around the water cooler.
FYI: Disability
Severe Allergies Not a Disability
Honoring Employees' Self-Described Disabilities
AutoZone Inc. just had a case remanded back to district court in favor of an employee who claimed the company failed to accommodate his severe back pain and related physical limitations.
Discrimination Deluge
Disability-discrimination claims skyrocketed in 2010, according to the EEOC. Is the broadened definition of "disabled" by the ADAAA to blame?
Screening With Meaning
Sophisticated urine analysis of employees on workers' comp could become a bulwark in the fight to control the epidemic use and abuse of narcotics.
Numbers of Unemployed and Disabled Increase
It should come as no real surprise, considering today's economy and aging workforce, that the numbers of unemployed and disabled Americans is rising. According to a recent study by Allsup, a Social Security disability provider, unemployment for people with disabilities continued to significantly outpace the unemployment rate for other workers throughout 2010.
Disability Discrimination Rises
Disability discrimination skyrocketed in 2010, according to the EEOC. Experts pin the blame on the broadening definition of "disabled" by the ADA Amendments Act, and -- on a smaller scale -- the loss of jobs in the economic downturn.
Reports Offer New Clues on Impact of Obesity in Comp Claims
It's long been believed that obesity adversely affects the workers' comp process. A pair of reports shed new insight on the effects of obesity on workplace injuries and may offer ideas for better managing these claims.
Identifying the Best Employee-Benefits Consultants
Employee-benefits consultants play an increasingly critical role in human resources, risk management and compliance. Winners of the Risk & Insurance® and Human Resource Executive® Top Employee Benefits Consultant Award will be profiled in the June issue of R&I and the June 16 issue of HRE.
Initiatives Take Hold in the Federal Workforce
A year-in-review of the federal workforce finds that management issues remained at the forefront throughout 2010 as agencies struggled to implement several initiatives designed to improve hiring and increase the representation of people with disabilities and veterans in the federal workforce.
Detecting the Landmines
Are there problems in your early return-to-work program? And, if so, where are you likely to find them? The search -- and making the necessary corrections -- should involve the HR leader as well as the risk manager, legal counsel, and others.
The 'Long Tail' of On-the-Job Injuries
The Wyoming Supreme Court ruled that a man's former employer is responsible for a 2007 medical condition because it was related to treatment for a 1993 workplace injury. While that already is the situation in some states, it is not in others -- although their courts or regulatory agencies may start seeing claims with such arguments popping up.
Emphasis on the Disabled
Several recent reports underscore an increasing need for employers to do everything they can to ensure they are not discriminating against disabled workers and applicants.
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Benefits Column

Does any company operate in a way that properly addresses the hot-button topics of the past year? The answer to that question can be found in the 10th anniversary edition of a book written by Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia.